Kindle 2? Yawn

Amazon Kindle 2So Amazon finally announced its long-rumored Kindle 2 which appears to be just like the original Kindle only 25 percent more of everything.

I bought a Kindle right after it went on sale last November, but stopped using it after a couple months. Amazon doesn’t seem to have fixed any of the defects with Kindle 2.

Amazon says the battery lasts 25% longer letting the user “read for days without recharging”. Yeah, right. The Kindle battery life was awful. With its much-vaunted Whispernet turned out, battery life was pretty much non-existent. Most of the times I actually wanted to use the Kindle, the battery was dead. I’ve never seen a device go through power so quickly when it wasn’t even turned on.

Similarly, Amazon says they’ve added more storage so you can carry along more than 1,500 books, but the major defect with the original Kindle was a lack of any way to manage large libraries. I had hundreds of books on my Kindle — the only way to organize them was in one long frakking list which the user then had to page through. No folders, subfolders, tags, categories or any other organizational system other than one big damn list.

The only thing that’s halfway interesting in the Kindle 2 is the text-to-speech feature and I’d really like to hear that demonstrated on a variety of books to see how useful it really is.

Me, I went out recently and bought a Sony PRS700 which is Sony’s second generation reader that has a touch screen and a backlight. The backlight is stupid and pointless (if you’re considering buying a PRS700 for the backlight, don’t). The touch screen works great — I have a habit of underlining and annotating books as I read, and the PRS700 works great for that. Morever, the battery life is fairly good and the PRS700 actually allows the user to sort books into what it calls “Collections,” so I can keep my hard scifi novels separate from the historical romances separate from the science and history books.

And whatever you do, if you’re using an ebook reader don’t pay for the DRMed crap books Amazon and Sony want to sell you unless you have a software tool to remove the DRM. Both readers will accept non-DRMed files and non-DRMed files are the only way to ensure that in a few years you’ll still be able to read the books you buy today.

Asshats at Sony Pull Netflix/XBOX Streaming of Columbia Pictures Films

Tomorrow, Microsoft pushes out an update to the XBOX 360 that, among other things, allows Netflix subscribers to watch streamed videos from that service on the XBOX. And today — purely by coincidence —  all Columbia Pictures movies and TV shows are blocked from being streamed to the XBOX.

Columbia Pictures, of course, is owned by Sony. So instead of streaming them, I’ll just have to get that Family Guy boxed set in my Netflix queue and see if somehow I can figure out a way to overcome the impenetrable DRM on the DVDs to rip them to my server.

Sony: Make Your Own LBP Levels . . . So We Can Mod Them Into Oblivion

Last month when I was trying to decide between getting an XBOX 360 and a PS3, I was tempted to go with the PS3 because of Little Big Planet. Thank goodness I didn’t make that mistake. It turns out Sony held out the promise of user generated content only to bring down the ban hammer on most of the decent content that people have been making available.

And, of course, they don’t bother to inform those folks whose content gets deep sixed exactly what they did wrong. Kotaku today highlights the modding of The Azure Palace, a fairly engaging and well done level that apparently was fairly popular until being modded off Sony’s server for still unknown reasons.

The most amusing thing is Sony’s typically idiotic approach to enforcing intellectual property restrictions in the game. First, they release a Kratos sockboy as downloadable content for the game. Then they turn around and moderate out of existence anyone who dares make a God of War tribute level. That’ll teach those evil plagiarizing fanboys!